From the minute we wake up, to the time we shut our eyes every night, we are sending emails, scrolling through Facebook, uploading those pretty photos taken to Instagram and snapping BFFs. For most of us today all this is part of the package of life. Technology has moved so fast it is easy to forget what life was like before. It has certainly changed our lives for the better in so many ways, but it is also important that we remember to take a break from it all. So unplug yourself from the laptop and put down the phone, and give the following a try.
Firstly, let’s talk about the effects technology actually has on us. With quite worrying negative impacts coming to light over the years, it’s important we know them in order to be able to recognise the signs that we might be one of the many human beings who need to take a step back from it all. Although technology makes us feel more connected than ever, for many it is actually harming our ability to socialise and is isolating us from the people standing right in front of us. Obesity, depression, poor sleep habits, increased bullying and health problems such as loss of hearing and eyesight are just some of the other effects that have been documented.
So what can we do in order to help ourselves avoid getting into these situations? Realising that we need to take a break is the first step. Personally, I didn’t think I had a problem. I’m fine, I go for walks. I take in nature and everything around me on a daily basis. But what was I doing on these walks? Taking my phone out of my pocket every five minutes to take pictures of that unusual sky or that panoramic view for my social media profiles. I realised that in fact this wasn’t me time, I wasn’t unplugging from everything and enjoying the moment. I still had technology glued to my fingertips, clinging on to it like a lifeline, feeling I had to document it and share with an audience. Because if I didn’t, did I actually even do it? Most of us tend to pick up our smartphones every morning before we’ve even brushed our teeth. Instead focus on preparing for the day ahead, both physically and mentally. If you’ve tried this and managed to survive, why not try having a set amount of hours that are technology free every day?
Another great way of learning to release from the clasps of technology every day is by having an alternative option. Find something you like to do, like reading a fiction novel or starting a class such as Yoga or Pilates. Make these things a routine and you won’t have time to be worrying about how many likes your new profile picture has.
Figure out what triggers you to use technology so often and try to extinguish these triggers. Do you use it to procrastinate from all those college assignments that need doing? Are you sitting at home in the evenings after dinner so bored out of your tree you’ve refreshed your Facebook and Instagram feeds ten times in the past minute? Put the phone away! Lock it in your room and give the key to that annoying sibling who loves nothing more than to see you suffer and definitely won’t give it back if you ask. Pick up those books you loaned from the library a week ago, arrange to meet up with friends and have a laugh, get up and go, get stuff done! This break from technology will also boost your creativeness and intelligence.
Like anything worthwhile, it will probably be tough at the beginning. Like drinking or smoking, technology is an addiction. It will take time to break the habit of picking up the phone every five minutes to check it even though you didn’t hear it ring. But after a few weeks you should start to feel the benefits. You will be getting work done at a quicker pace, your mood in general will improve and the free time you will have to do something new, fun and exciting will surprise you. Nobody is under the illusion that cutting technology out of life completely is an option, because it’s just not possible. But taking these needed breaks from brightly lit screens should de-clutter your mind. You won’t regret it.
Article by: Amanda Flannery